The Rev. Returns
So we cornered Steve, who plays the heavy-drinking, unemployable lost soul Colin, and offered him a packet of crisps in exchange for an interview. And he said yes! But then, they were pretty posh crisps.
What do you think is the appeal of Rev?
I think the appeal of Rev. is mainly down to Tom and Olivia because of the way they've made this married couple so real. It’s lovely to see the human failings they both have without it turning into Terry and June (Er, the boss is coming round for dinner and my promotion depends on it. What’s that? Next door's dog has stolen the chicken? Oh no! You run out and try to buy one while I pretend you're cooking it in the kitchen...etc…etc)
We've come a long way in sitcomland - I think if the main characters are real then everyone around them echoes that and just falls into place. Plus it's a blessing that we don't have a laughter track (the lord moves in mysterious ways)!
What made you want the part of Colin?
When my agent told me I had an audition for Rev., I didn’t have a clue what it was. They sent over a couple of scenes for me to look at and, as I recall, they were both bench scenes between Adam and Colin. I fell in love with both characters straight away and made it my business to learn the scenes word for word so I could put the character over without stumbling and reading from pages of script.
What I loved about Colin was his naivety, his bluntness, his violent undercurrent and the sense that he desperately wants to belong to something in his lonely little drink-sodden world. I did ok because they then asked me back for a recall and I got the job!
How would you describe Colin?
Colin is a lost sheep trying to make sense of a world that has dealt him a bad hand. He’s not the brightest person and doesn’t always think before he acts. But I think his heart is in the right place and he’s very malleable. He's always looking for the next step to enlightenment and I think God gives him a sense of belonging and makes him feel less lonely.
Were there any amusing off camera moments you can share?
When I came back for the audition recall I was wearing an old duffel coat that I had bought at a festival. I threw it on the floor and did the scenes again. Then Peter Cattaneo (the director) said, “Can you do it again with the coat on?” So I did. And I got the job.
When I went for a costume fitting the Wardrobe Ladies had bought three duffel coats and the conversation went like this:
“Can you try this coat on?” I did.
“Can you put your one on again?” I did.
“Now try the second one on.” I did.
“Yours again please.” I did.
“Now try the third one on please.” I did.
Then they both stood there looking sheepishly at the floor and not speaking. So I said, “Would you like me to wear my own coat?”
And they replied, practically in unison. “Oh would you mind?” Those ladies were so polite. Apart from keeping me warm at many a festival, I think that coat swung the job for me.
What’s your favourite line or scene in the last series?
My all time favourite scene in the first series is in Episode 6 when Adam has practically lost his faith and is stumbling around drunk with a kebab, trying to pick a fight with some kids. The policeman more or less arrest him and take him to give the last rights to a dying woman, who is holding on till her vicar gets there.
It's stunning how that scene shifts gear from a drunken vicar questioning his own faith and meaning in life, to a man who has to find it in himself to come through for those in need. Not only is it a testament to the writing but the way Tom Hollander shifts gear in such a realistic way. It’s practically a master class in acting and is so beautiful and tender. I wept.
What was the worst bit about filming series 2?
The worst bits were the days I wasn’t on set. I just loved being there and soaking it all up. When I had time off I didn’t know what to do with myself. So that just shows what a lack of imagination I have!
The second series of Rev. begins Thursday night on BBC Two at 9pm.